Chestnut, Sudo Defend Titles at July 4th Nathan’s Hot Dog-Eating Competition

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CONEY ISLAND – Joey Chestnut ate 71 hot dogs to win his 12th title at Nathan’s Famous annual July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island—a few dogs less than last year.

Hundreds jammed to watch Joey Chestnut beat his record, but not today. (Photo: Todd Maisel)
Fans show enthusiasm at the 2019 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. (Photo: Todd Maisel)
More than 2400 hot dogs were prepared for the 2019 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition. (Photo: Todd Maisel)

In front of thousands of fans and facing 17 hungry opponents in 95 degree heat, the California native outpaced his nearest competitors, but couldn’t make it to the 74-dog record he set last year. Some of the spectators, many from around the country, waited as early as 3 a.m. to enter the viewing area to watch the spectacle.

Joey Chestnut takes down 71 hotdogs but did not beat his record. (Photo: Todd Maisel)

On that same morning, Miki Sudo won the women’s contest, by chowing down 31 hot dogs.

Miki Sudo once again wins the women’s division. (Photo: Todd Maisel)

The 33-year-old fell short of her total last year of 37 hot dogs, but earned her sixth  victory by beating runner-up Michelle Lesco, who chomped down 26 dogs.

Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas holds the women’s record of 45 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Chesnut and Sudo will each take home $10,000 and a full stomach.

Miki Sudo wins the women’s division. (Photo: Todd Maisel)

Spectators endured high temperatures and humidity, but kept smiling with foam hot dog hats, plastic noisemakers and hand-made signs. The annual contest started in 1972.

Joey Chestnut takes down 71 hotdogs but did not beat his record. Ringmaster George Shea celebrates victory with him. (Photo: Todd Maisel)
Joey Chestnut eats 71 hot dogs and wins the 2019 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating competition. (Photo: Todd Maisel)

Chestnut has only lost once since 2007 (in 2015 he lost to Matthew Stonie), when he pulled ahead of longtime foe Takeru Kobayashi (champion from 2001-2006) for the first time. Kobayashi no longer takes part in the event.

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Todd Maisel
Todd Maisel is an award-winning photographer with more than 35-years, specializing in breaking news. He currently serves as vice president of the New York Press Photographers. He was honored by the National Press Photographers Association and the Uniform Firefighters Association for saving the life of a firefighter he found in debris after the collapse of the World Trade Center, assisting in the rescue of an injured photographer, and for extensive coverage of the attack. Maisel is a graduate of NYU School of Journalism.
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